Sunday, October 02, 2005

Book Review: Foreign Babes in Beijing

Foreign Babes in Beijing seems an unlikely subject for review on a blog about leadership. But hey, I promised you leadership doesn't always wear a tie, and that's definitely true in this case!

China is an awakening economic giant. Whichever way you look at it, China is about to play a much more significant part in world affairs now than ever before.

So it makes sense to know what China is about.

Being a huge country of 1.3 billion people, that's no easy task. Foreign Babes in Beijing gives you a five year slice of life in China's second largest city through the eyes of a Westerner who became part of the culture she observed.

Rachel DeWoskin's memoir of her life in Beijing includes her friendships with Chinese who wanted to be American, Americans who wanted to be Chinese, PR people, film industry people, and just about anyone else you can imagine.

The book gets its title from the soap opera Rachel ended up in, an experience that allowed her to see herself through Chinese eyes (at least, through the scriptwriter's eyes).

As a way to get to know China, Foreign Babes in Beijing is incredibly subjective - which is great! Sure, a dry book of economic facts or history might help you understand the outline of the new China, but DeWoskin's slices of her life in Beijing give you a sense of the fragrances, colours and tastes of this ancient and very modern country.


At 6:43 pm, Blogger Jack Yan said...

I’m still a sceptic about Chinese economic growth, but I do agree that China plays a greater part in world affairs than it did at any time in its history since, say, the Sung Dynasty (when China gave the world spaghetti and pizza). Any rise in an empire, be it English, American or Chinese, is bound to attract its share of wannabes—the first decade of the 21st century is already looking very different to the last of the 20th, even if there's a bloke called Bush in the White House and American troops are in Iraq.


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